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Dealership Mechanics/ Technician Help

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by ssk875, Jul 25, 2011.

  1. r7bis
    Joined: Mar 12, 2011
    Posts: 36

    r7bis
    Member

    Guess I'm also in the same boat as the OP. Im currently going to school to get my b/a as an automotive technician. No real ideas as what im gonna do with it once i get it. Before school for 5 years I've been a shop helper at a cabinet shop and welding shop. Working at the welding shop helped me learn how to weld.

    As my teachers have constantly said, being a mechanican doesn's mean you always have to wrench on cars, theres other doors that this type of work open for you.
    Every job is going to have politics in them. Also any manual labor job, like this, your body will start to feel it, but unless you get sit at a desk everyday its gonna happen.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2011
  2. mrforddude
    Joined: May 30, 2010
    Posts: 134

    mrforddude
    Member

    All I'm going to say is, if you like working on cars and you can make a living at...get after it with everything you got...

    I've been away from working on cars for the last 4+ years and I miss it so bad that I can't hardly wait to get home to start back to "working a real job"...but that's just me and I am for sure nuts...
     
  3. shadams
    Joined: Mar 16, 2011
    Posts: 1,491

    shadams
    Member

    BTW, as far as advisors go. It is my opinion that the best advisors are former techs, or someone like myself who busts his ass to know as much as possible about what you are dealing with. It makes life in the shop a whole lot eassier on the techs if they dont have to hold your hand on every job, and I can talk my way through almost every situation without bothering anyone. People respond much better when you are dealing with them if they are confident in your knowledge.

    Point is, your experience as a tech can most certainly apply to an advisor position. The rest is being able to deal with people effectively and not being scared of customers when it comes to selling the services or dealing with problems.
     
  4. Iceberg460
    Joined: Jun 6, 2007
    Posts: 880

    Iceberg460
    Member

    Just my personal experience here. Been at a dealer ever since I got out of wyotech in '06. First couple years were great, made $35k+ a year working 50-60 hours a week. Got sent to training about every other month and got paid well for it too. Then the economy started slowing down and it all went to shit. Barely breaking $20k a year now and still working 50+ hour weeks. No more training unless the dealership NEEDS you certified in something for warranty work. And, I know this is not the case for everyone, but when I get home the last thing I want to do is work on my own stuff. That and dealership politics will drive you insane, seems like anyone who is not a mechanic is just waiting for the chance to drive the bus over you.

    Just my $0.02, but I would go back to school. That’s what I intend to do, if I can ever get my head above water<O:p</O:p
     
  5. I too, wrote service for many years- Pontiac/Cadillac/GMC/Chevy through the '80's. I made a little money, but it was only to finance my music business stuff. I was glad to get gone from the dealership shop environment. It was a nasty emotional environment.

    You seem pretty sharp, why not a mechanical engineering degree?

    One of my buddies from back when I was at the dealership is still there at Chevrolet- he's quadruple ASE certified, and sharp as any of 'em. He makes around $55K a year, but he's 55 now. My brother-in-law who just graduated college (26) started his engineering job at $72,500. I know money isn't the only motivator, but he works on his old cars for fun on the weekends, and always has money to get the nice parts he needs. Easy math for me.
     
  6. PUMPKINHEAD
    Joined: Dec 16, 2007
    Posts: 438

    PUMPKINHEAD

    I'll keep it simple....go back to school. Work on cars as a hobby.
     
  7. 215slowpoke
    Joined: Dec 17, 2004
    Posts: 578

    215slowpoke
    Member

    It seems Jagman nailed it in my opinion. I could'nt put it any better than he did.

    Find something that you enjoy doing is #1 to me.
    I really don't recomend going into debt with school. Figure out how much more your are going to have to make to pay off your loans and include the time you will possibly be at school not making money.
     
  8. If you can go to do it. I started as a mechanic in the Navyin 67. I worked as a heavy equipment mech. until 99, Then I went to the Colorado Dept of Corrections as a Maintenance Supervisor I ( equipment& automotive maintenance. ) My body told me that I was done working on equipment &the 80 hr. weeks in all kinds of weather. Most of the work was outside. I didn't have time to work on my own toys then that is why at 62 I am now finally building my 31 tudor.
     
  9. zzford
    Joined: May 5, 2005
    Posts: 1,823

    zzford
    Member

    I have been a mechanic for 45 years and completely love it! Everyplace I've ever worked was great. Management took care of my every need, service writers always saw that I stayed busy and making money. The dispachers always gave me the "gravy work". I plan to return to my job as soon as they let me out of the asylum. Gosh, I hope they recognize me now that I'm no longer Jesus.
     
  10. been a mechanic all my life, and do it for a living...like any job, there is good days and bad but i like it! most days it doesn't seem like work. DO WHAT YOU LIKE TO DO, what ever it is, and be happy. how about a career that involves rubbing lotion on swim suit models?
     
  11. I own my own shop now, and like it, but I spent 7 years in a dealership. You can make good money if you're in the right situation. I had a couple 70K years. I left before things got bad. I would caution you to think about what you want to do long term. You don't see guys working into their 60's on flat rate. It is a good way to train though. I would recommend it for a while.
     
  12. 1950ChevySuburban
    Joined: Dec 20, 2006
    Posts: 6,188

    1950ChevySuburban
    Member Emeritus
    from Tucson AZ

    I've been doing this for 30 years. Still enjoy it. I did dealers in St. Louis back in the '80s right out of Ranken Tech, private shops there and here in Tucson, and my own successful shops both here and there as well. I've seen all sides.

    What I didn't like is the greed based system known as flat-rate. Really? You come in the morning with your buds, and then race them to pick the best tickets? Fuck that.
    Begging customers for that needed waterpump? Screw that too.

    I like hourly shops. I have a damn good work ethic (thanks Dad!) and earn my keep by being on time, under budget, and very few comebacks. I also devour any training offered.

    I left "retail shops" 6 years ago to wrench at the U of A garage. Pay is lower, yet very steady. Treated with respect, work with good friends, and specialty tools are supplied.
    Shop is comfortable, clean and up to date. I hope to retire from here in 14 years.

    Happiness is where you find it.
     
  13. Project 56
    Joined: Apr 3, 2007
    Posts: 76

    Project 56
    Member

    i work at a small tire shop where we just do light mechanic stufff like brakes alignments front end parts ect no computer crap. the pay is ok but i also started running the office sence my boss and owner of the shop came down with cancer. the negative: insurance sucks no 401k or any type of retirement options here and now im here from like 7-5 with no lunch breaks and the pay never goes up i havent had a raise in 2 years. i have also done the dealership thing for 3 years its true the mechanics pick and choose what they wanna do and the lower on the totem pole u r the more u get the shaft. they paid hourly plus commision but watch out if some one helps they take part of your commision. i say go to school and do somthing else this job is a big headache and streesfull. junst my opnion
     
  14. scofflaw
    Joined: Jul 26, 2006
    Posts: 112

    scofflaw
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Ohio

    Not usually one to chime in on this sort of thing, but your post has me thinking.

    For me school was an invaluable (but very expensive) experience. To pay for it, I worked as an apprentice mechanic, on heavy equipment, buses, dozers, rigs, fork lifts, etc (Hard and dirty work, and physically demanding). I then moved up and on to a better job with an automotive supplier as a millwright, and pursued my second degree.

    I didn’t have the typical college experience or background of my classmates, but I was the only Union Journeyman in my class, living in an alien from world from most of them. (I will say a lot of Co-Ed’s like a man who good with his hands ;).)

    I used the money from my full time job along with some student loans to put myself through school. I have now multiple degrees and a job in Engineering and Industrial Design.

    I do my mechanical work as a hobby now only working on what I want. I enjoy a nice climate controlled office space and have a job that takes me all over the world, and pays way better then any job I ever had before.

    Sounds like a happy ending right? Well, the grass from one job isn’t always as green as the money it produces……………my "cush" office job is filled with an enormous amount of politics and BS. It’s much higher stress at times then working high steel on a windy day, and some days it’s all I can do to keep from walking out or literally clobbering somebody.

    I always used the skills I had at the time as a means to accomplish another goal; In this case my education. I never intended to be a "mechanic" but thinking back, I loved that work much more than what I currently do. I’ve come to a plateau in my current role so once again I’m restless and need something new. I know where my heart lies and I just really love to wrench, build and create things.

    All that said, I wouldn’t trade my education and life experiences for anything, because it’s made me who I am. But It’s taken me 20 years to realize what gives me the most fulfillment and happiness is not chasing money, or a job with great benefits, but just learning something new that allows me to create the world I want.

    If the world you want includes a formal College education, I’d say pay as you go. Borrow some, but only if reallllly necessary. It may take a while but you’ll be better off when you’re done. Current formal education costs for many BA/ BS degrees far exceed their immediate value upon graduation if you borrow your way through. I have a buddy that graduated 5 yrs ago, he still owes $100K and has a $40K a year job. He’s looking at 15-30 years of repayment (depending on his future income) at an interest rate that’s more than double the amount of most home loans.
     
  15. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 30,038

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I worked in independent shops, tire shops and dealer shops and made the most money in dealer shops but that was when a guy could run up the hours on flat rate and everyone in the shop specialized.
    I don't see how a guy can expect to work piece work or flat rate and make a really decent living unless he specializes. My brother in law is one of those rare birds that seems to be able to do it but he's a bit of an odd duck in the first place.

    And even if you stay were you are find classes that you can take at night at a trade school or JC to increase your knowledge and skill.

    I agree with Rocky and a couple of others in that if you want to twist wrenches look for a fleet job. When I was teaching Mechanics in high school the mechanics at the bus garage made more per hour than I did.
     
  16. i'll echo the statements above. if you stay in the trade, specialize. when i was at the dealer everyone had a specialty. you knew your stuff and you worked fast. nowadays, many dealers expect all techs to know all aspects of every vehicle that comes thru the door. it can slow you down and frustrate you to the point of madness.

    the ability to specialize is key. in my experience is that the best money is in electrical, automatic transmissions, and drivability diagnosis. you can almost write your own ticket when you are excellent at something that most people don't want to mess with.
     
  17. jfg455
    Joined: Apr 22, 2011
    Posts: 171

    jfg455
    Member
    from NH

    15 years at a GM dealership. At your age flat rate will teach you how to manage your time wisely. It will also offer you schooling on new tech stuff and overall make you a better mechanic.
    Now, with that said, while learning all of this continue with school and get a degree in a field that won't kill you or give you a sour attutude by the time you are middle aged. I have 2 days left in the dealership, I am 40, and next week I start my next career as a cop in my home town. it gives me time with my family (dealership is 60 - 72 hrs / week), always 5 min from home, and pays 100% health care. also gives me a pention which the dealership will not.
    So do the dealership to learn mechanics, go to school to learn your money making career for later, enjoy life. My $.02
     
  18. sdluck
    Joined: Sep 19, 2006
    Posts: 2,795

    sdluck
    Member

    I started in my first dealership in 1972 as a apprentice ,worked at many dealerships lots of training,had my own shop and worked for others,it was all I wanted to do.I worked on drag cars ,flat track motorcycles circle track cars,scca cars and sprint cars.I finally went to work for the City of San Jose,been here 21 years,now they want to take away our pay and benfits,run far away, this is not what it used to be.For what you need to know they don't pay or train any more
     
  19. garyf
    Joined: Aug 11, 2006
    Posts: 243

    garyf
    Member

    Dido to : get out, get a different trade. I was 30+ yrs an auto tech,mostly dealerships. Here is what to look foward to -kiss ass or starve, constant tool expenses, no benefits, shop temperature 100+ degrees summers, burn you skin off working on a hot engine to beat flat rate, warranty work will pay 3 hours to remove a dash and install an a/c evaporator , lucky if have heat in winters, bad back, hernia, knees shot, very rare any training offered, dumped on the sidewalk @ 50 yrs.old (too slow), -- keep auto repairs a hobby not a career!
     
  20. bryan6902
    Joined: May 5, 2008
    Posts: 1,137

    bryan6902
    Member

    I have excelled at dealerships but will agree they aren't for everyone. Like any other job you have to actually WORK at it to get good. Take the training, buy the tools, don't be afraid of the scary jobs.... Too many guys think they're entitled to good work and cry when it doesn't work our their way. BOO-HOO, get good, work hard, don't be a cry-ass! It also helps to work for someone/dealer group that isn't a total cheap ass and will contribute to health care and a 401k. Good luck in whatever path you choose.
     
  21. Started wrenching in a private shop in 1956 was sent to delerships to learn there cars
    300 t0 600 MBZ Porsch WV most all British Italian Cars
    then went Fleat not a parts changer
    then construction
    back to private shop 50% was good till the Son took over
    Now i work on School Busses, Trucks, Geniboom, and all Cars and P/U's
    that is mostly service work
    The Job is at a Christian College we have 4 Mechanics we fif most every thing electronics on man lifts fork lifts
    there are over 350 vehicles You are not finished till you are done
    we keep everything looking like new there is major work done but you see everything whare it belongs
    this is like a retirement job no mad rush
    OK yes my knees and back are going out
    i am breakink 60 and still have a shop at home at night
     
  22. i also have retirement here helth
    i lost all of my machinist pension frpm California
    i would look at other work
    my delership experiances were good in the early days
    dut they would take your school $$$$$ and deduct then out of your pay
    then private shops would only have you go to night classes
     
  23. Look at getting your A&P (airframe and power) License. They teach you a lot of stuff (fuel systems, fab, electrical) and the pay is really good
     
  24. tucknroll
    Joined: Mar 10, 2007
    Posts: 104

    tucknroll
    Member
    from iowa

    I co-own a shop with my brother and make a good living stay busier than i would like most times. but i have not had a real vacation since 1992. a few days here and there around the holidays. work late alot and miss some lunch hours. lots of aches and pains from heavy work but you cannot call in sick its not a option. my advice would be RUN FAST AND HARD. i love my job most days but if i had other options when i was young i sure would have taken them. mechanic business is a dying breed and i dont blame them there is alot easier jobs with better pay. hate to see you get stuck in a rut. years fly by fast . get a good education you wont regret it. i am 50 and a little to late to change. good luck
     
  25. Kona Cruisers
    Joined: Feb 4, 2007
    Posts: 1,074

    Kona Cruisers
    Member

    ... I think dealerships are getting a bad rep. A lot of people keep saying ass kissing is the only way to make good money. I think thats BS. The guys flagging under 100% are the guys who bitch about any warranty work, take hour fifteen lunches, show up 15 min late, start rolling their boxes up at 4:30, and so on. Bitching at work makes you go into work thinking you're gonna get fucked. You're just fucking yourself with a piss poor attitude. Yeah that dash that pays 3.5 sucks... That 2.5 hour brake job or other maintenance, doesnt take 2.5 hours either... Working hard isn't kissing ass. Doing that crank seal isn't kissing ass. It's doing what your boss tells you. That warranty work... is the reason those people come in the door to a dealership rather than Bill's Auto Shop. Also, a good tech brings around 30% of their hours to themselves in upsells. I know this probably is gonna piss off some guys here.... but I stand by it. I think dealership are a good place to work, and move up.

    tech... advisor... service manager..
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2011

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